A six-year-old wearing an oversized ski helmet spies the mob
crowding the snowboarder at the base of Mountain Creek in
Vernon, N.J. He pushes his way to the front and breathlessly
pipes, "Excuse me, excuse me! Are you Danny Kass?"
Kass offers a bored stare, pops a piece of Bubblicious in his
mouth and throws the wrapper onto the snow. "No," he says. "I'm
Since snowboarding's most notorious bad boy won a silver medal
at last month's Olympics, he, like his buddy Powers, has been
bombarded with media and public appearance requests, not to
mention those pesky fans who, he laments, won't bug off. "All
day, these kids keep coming," he says. "Being famous kind of
Kass acknowledges his role in taking snowboarding mainstream,
but he doesn't want the responsibility of making sure the sport
stays there. Staying true to his rebel roots, Kass bailed on two
sponsors' events in Salt Lake City that would've netted him some
easy dough, choosing instead to beat a hasty retreat to his
condo in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. "It was starting to feel like
work," says Kass, 19. "I just wanted to kick back on my couch
and play PS2."
If anything has changed since the Olympics, Kass says, it's that
"the 30-to-60-year-old group recognizes me now and isn't as
scared of me." It's enough to bring a renegade to despair, so he
hops into the black Jetta of his friend Matt Bates, 21, in
search of a keg. After coming up empty, they settle for nine
cases of Bud Light, four cases of Corona and two cases of Coors
Light, which Bates piles into the trunk. As Bates pulls out, the
bottom of the car scrapes the curb. "Dude," Kass says. "Beer's
By 11 p.m. the party's raging in Kass's fourth-floor suite at
the old Playboy Club. He's surrounded by his crowd and
determined to keep it that way. "I'm not going to drop my
sponsors," says Kass. "I could easily ask for $1 million, but
that would be almost unmoral. That'd be selling out. There's
better things in life than money...like Count Choco cereal."
Kass lets out a long belch. "And being true to yourself."
COLOR PHOTO: CRAIG CAMERON OLSENThe flip side Kass was happy to give his sport a lift at the Games; just don't ask him to sell his snowboarding soul.
COLOR PHOTO: MIKE PONTE [See caption above]